What is Data Privacy Day and Why Should You Care?
Organized by the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA), Data Privacy Day, or DPD for short, is aimed to call attention to data privacy and protection. Held annually on January 28th, Data Privacy Day is part of a greater movement that raises awareness of the importance of privacy, emphasizes ways to protect personal information, and reminds us that privacy is good.
Every year the NCSA welcomes groups of all sizes to become Data Privacy Champions. Becoming a Data Privacy Champion gives you access to a variety of free resources to promote protecting personal data and makes you part of a team of organizations, dedicated to empowering individuals and encouraging businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust.
Data Privacy Day 2021
“Own Your Privacy” is this year’s theme for Data Privacy Day. Industry reports have shown that a majority of society has felt an increasing lack of control over their data. Even with this opinion, methods still exist that each of us can use to learn about the types of data we are generating online, and how companies collect, share, and use it. For 2021’s theme, the NCSA has laid out ways the “Own Your Privacy” idea can be worked into our everyday lives.
Steps You Can Take at Home
- Think carefully about what personal information you give out through apps and websites.
- Consider what posting any information on social media can reveal about you, colleagues, or loved ones before hitting “Send.”
- Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing.
The Latest Trend in Switching Social Media Due to Data Privacy
If you’re active on social media, or even watched the news in the past week, I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive social media migration from communication apps like WhatsApp to more “data safe” apps like Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp is forcing users to share personal data with Facebook, by changing its terms of service to force the sharing of personal data including phone numbers and locations. According to a WhatsApp representative, the change was to allow businesses to store WhatsApp chats using Facebook infrastructure. However, not everyone is happy about that change. Some critics, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have suggested users move to the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram.
WhatsApp, is an encrypted messaging app, portraying itself as a privacy-focused service. On the other hand, if the app users do not agree to the new terms of service by February 8, they will lose access to the app. Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and in 2016 it gave users a one-time chance to opt-out of sharing app data with Facebook. The drastic move has encouraged users to delete their WhatsApp accounts and switch to smaller, encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal.
The Battle Over User Privacy
Not all Silicon Valley tech giants are bad after all. Two of the biggest are currently butting heads over how user data should be used. Apple has decided to focus on user privacy over targeted advertising. Search mogul Google, the leader in online advertising revenue, is trying its best to comply. Apple is promoting its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, which will require developers to ask for permission when they use personal data from other companies’ apps and websites for advertising purposes, even if they already have user consent. The ATT policy will ask users to opt-in if they allow advertisers to use their data via the Identifier for Advertisers, or IDFA. In many pre-trial tests that have been conducted, many users refused to allow it, meaning they can’t be tracked for advertising purposes.Apple’s ATT policy will have a huge impact on Google’s mobile advertising network, making it harder to target users efficiently with advertising. One of the most severely impacted could be Facebook. Many industry experts believe that Facebook could suffer a loss of tens of billions of dollars in advertising revenues. Google has said they will no longer use information that falls under ATT for the handful of Google iOS apps that currently use it for advertising purposes. Google has continued to say that it focuses on making users and data privacy a priority.